A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Amazing News :)

I'm going to be a Grandma for the first time in August!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night Date

Yeah, I'm a wild one.

Had a lovely evening.  Ipod looping the utterly fantabulous score from How to Train Your Dragon.  I'm cheering for John Powell to win the Academy Award for this one.  My nephew gave me a terrific sound-blocking headset for Christmas and the music is magical through it.  Just stitched away until the battery died.  Got quite a lot done.  I'm happy with the progress.  Disappointed that I don't seem to be able to photograph properly.  The fabric on this is a gorgeous dark rose.  And that green fabric along the edge?  It's actually PEACH.  What the...?

Rain, rain, raining here.  Kind of bummed that I won't get to garden tomorrow (rain is supposed to keep up all day), but Sunday is supposed to be nice.  I have two flats of flowers from my field trip last weekend to get into the ground.  Although, as cold as it is, I'm not sure I should plant them now.  March 15 is our last official frost date here.  Maybe I should wait?

We're close to the ocean and only about 200 feet elevation.  Snow level tonight is supposed to come down to 500 feet.  I was doing supervision duty after school today (in the pouring rain) when a colleague stopped by under my umbrella to tell me her daughters had just called from our neighboring town (a few hundred feet uphill from us) where it was snowing.

Very rare here, for sure.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nothing better...

than floss, needle and samba on the ipod.

Made a little progress.  Lesson:  For every 30 minutes you schedule into your evening for stitching, add 15 to get everything together.

Very excited!  Paid my registration fee, found my clogging shoes and they still fit, even with my old lady orthotics. 

First class tomorrow night.

Knees, don't fail me now!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This day

did not go as planned.

I guess that's OK.

I'm getting over this strange virus that's been sort of hanging on for a couple of weeks.  Honest.  I feel fine.  But what I would call a minimal effort slaps me back the next day.

Dancing by hank101

Like today.  Yesterday was a minimal effort day.  Yes, I did drive a fair distance to Roger's.  Yes, I did more than my share of talking (thanking my companion for the great therapy).  And yes, we did manage to cover pretty much all of that 7-acre nursery.   And yes, I did drive the fair distance home again. But really?

I was supposed to plant all those flowers today.  YES, all of them.  I must stop buying plants and letting them wither away.  Two years in a ponypac is a trial for any living thing.  And I didn't buy all that many.  Seriously, a couple of hours would have done it.

But the day - a Monday holiday - didn't cooperate.  I overslept.  Then I wrote.  Then I checked email and facebook.  (Facebook is a curse, an addiction.  I can't talk myself out of it.  My family lives there.)  Then, just as I had delivered my weeding tools and stool to the location for the new flowers, DS2 (now fighting The Virus from Hell)  in his miserable self wandered out.  And I heard myself offering to go to the grocery to get something for dinner and was there anything he wanted to treat his illness while I was there?  Gallons of orange juice.  Cold medicine.  A freight car load of tissues.

Once I got back and unloaded the car, I realized no flowers would be planted today.  The gym would have to survive yet another day without my attendance.  That little effort did me in.

So I've been writing.

A few days ago I downloaded an app for my ipod called "Live Happy."  I'm loving it.  It gives me gentle nudges each day to do something - some exercise - to focus on the positive in my life.  I store something - a picture, a story - every day and am slowly building a place to visit and smile.

The exercises are selected based on answers to questionnaires.  Today's set my weird-o-meter to clicking.

Weird-o-meter.  Need to back up here.  Last summer I went through a tough time.  In fact, all of 2010 (and a bit of 2009, now that I think of it) had a rough edge to it.  One of my concerns was that I just couldn't face going back to teaching as burned out as I am.  I was desperate to find some way to spark something creative for the next few years.  Then, in June, just after my dad died, a friend suggested Julia Cameron's Artist's Way.  I only had to read the introduction to know that this program had my name on it.  I worked it faithfully and diligently (and felt myself emerging) through the summer and into the fall.  Part of her teaching is that 1) the universe is constantly at work for me and 2) there is no such thing as coincidence and 3) I have to pay attention.  What I started to notice as I paid attention is that my life has been and still is full of weird coincidences that lead me to things better than what I would have chosen without them.  I learned to pay extra close attention to those events that were super-uber weird.  That's when I say the weird-o-meter is clicking.  Like today.

I set Artist's Way aside this past fall.  The friend who had recommended it managed to hurt my feelings pretty badly and it has taken a long time to reach some kind of equilibrium.  Enough to get back to facing this program, anyway.  That happened at about the time I reached an Artist's Way  writing exercise where I was supposed to visualize goals.  But one of the problems I'd been having through the previous year was a death of dreams, and to develop goals, I needed dreams again.  And finally - conveniently for my conscience, anyway - I started a writing class with fabulous Los Angeles writer/actor/teacher Jack Grapes .

I used the two-pages-a-day writing assignment from Jack as an excuse to set aside the Artist's Way exercises (although I kept up the Morning Pages pretty well).  But really, honestly.  I was afraid of that dream/goal thing.

Over the weekend I was complaining to my mom that I never finish anything.  Garden projects. Housework. Craft projects.

Artist's Way.

So I pulled the book last night to see what I still needed to do, and was reminded of the goals thing.  THEN, this morning I pulled up Live Happy to see my daily assignment.  It was almost word-for-word the same prompt as the Artist's Way prompt.  Visualize myself in a few years.  Everything that I wanted has come to pass.  Describe myself.  Set goals.  Divide them down into steps.

It was time.

So, today I finished that domain from Artist's Way.  I was able to pull up some dreams and some goals.  They may change and that's OK, but at the least I feel better having moved out of that chapter.
I then went on to the divide them up and calendar them. I will finish this program.

On a roll now, I realized that one "goal" I had not included in the exercise was to write a grant proposal for a teacher award program in our county.  I've won a half dozen of these over the years but haven't submitted for a while.  I really liked something I had the kids do last year (they liked it, too) so I knocked that out and sent it online.

Actually feeling pretty good about accomplishments today, all things considered.  Now, if I can manage to get the dishes washed and my laundry folded, I should be able to start the week feeling pretty confident.

Which is growth.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bleeding Hearts and Birdfeeders.

And a bunch of other really cool stuff.

I'm having a really lovely weekend.

Yesterday was a "crop" day with my mom and sister.  We started these years ago when sis was a consultant for Creative Memories.  She rented a room in a local center and we (and up to a dozen other scrapbookers) would spread out and put together pages of our favorite photos.  The historian in me loves these projects.  When she stopped being an active consultant we continued our days together - every other Saturday - at my Mom's house.  I wish I could say that a lot of photos get put into albums, but lately I can't seem to manage to get all my stuff there at one time so I get little done.  And I REALLY need to get stuff done.  The supplies are taking up too much valuable storage space.  I'd really love to have all the supplies artfully arranged into scrapbooks.

Leaving behind room to sew.

Today was another terrific day.  I drove my terrific sister-in-law a couple of hours to Corona del Mar for some serious nursery shopping.

A couple of years ago she turned me on to a fabulous nursery (that does mail order) called Annie's Annuals in Richmond, CA. 

Annie's seems like such a fun place.  We've both ordered plants from her and they are perfect when they arrive.  But we live so far away, we miss out on the fun (and serendipity) of shopping for flowers.  One day I saw a picture of a second nursery that had a whole table of Annie's Annuals plants.  I set out to find a nursery that carried her plants within reasonable driving distance.

That is a long story.  I found a nursery in the town of Westminster, CA.  I made repeated attempts to call the nursery to confirm they were still in business before my SIL and I made the trek down, but they did not return my calls.  So I followed the hours and directions in their website, only to have a woman shut the gate - literally in our faces - as she announced that she was leaving on vacation.

Royally perturbed but anxious to create some fun out of the day (did I mention it had been a two-hour drive?) I took us to a nearby scrapbook store.  Hearing our sad story, the owner told us about a wonderful nursery just a few miles down the 405.  Armed with her directions (and after stocking up on scrapbook supplies in gratitude) we made a pilgrimage to Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar.  
  And were delighted to discover, as we made our way into this spectacular nursery, table after table from Annie's Annuals!

Since spring is definitely peeking her nose out here in sunny SoCA, we decided to hit the road again today to see if Roger's had any of the posies in Annie's most recent catalog.  We hit the jackpot!  Again, several tables of Annie's annuals, including a whole table of poppies (a major target plant.)  I didn't take this picture (it's from the Roger's website) but see those pictures above the plant table on the left?  Yep, Annie's.

After stocking up with as many plants as my Explorer would hold, we headed to our favorite restaurant for lunch.

We chanced upon Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Kitchen in the Newport Fashion Island on last summer's expedition.  Apparently we hit it in its opening week.  The food was then - and was again today - fabulous.  But the quiet atmosphere we had enjoyed so much in the summer had evolved with the restaurant's increasing popularity and it was extremely noisy this time.  Still managed to jabber through lunch, though.

A great therapy weekend.

So grateful for family that will let me express what I'm feeling and encourage me to grow from the experience.

And so now I'm plugged into Straight No Chaser's version of "Fix You" coming through my awesome headset Christmas present from my nephew.  This may be the first time I listen to this piece without crying 'cause I'm just in too good a mood to let it shake me.  (The bass voices do still kick start my heart, however.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

That's better.

Much better.

Finally figured out why I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for this Scatter... piece by Shepherd's Bush.  I think my subconscious remembered I had this piece of Desert Rose Aida stashed for this.  Pulled it out tonight and am MUCH happier working on it.  Even with a couple of doggy interruptions managed to finish "scatter".  Hmmmm... what shall I scatter?

Hint:  Monday.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Trouble Sleeping?

These may help.

(P.S.  Still in love with Danny Kaye.)

The Five Pennies - Lullabye in Ragtime

Baby Mine-Dumbo & His Mommy

Lullaby in Ragtime (Harry Nilsson)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Happy Friday


Went through a reflections process on the last few months and came out feeling tons better.

Life is good.

For the most part. 

Going through my journal it seems I'm supremely frustrated by the condition of my home.  (If you saw it, you would understand.)  Guess I'll put MORE energy into coming up with some kind of routine to keep on top of things.

Problem is, I really don't have the energy - physical, yes, but not spiritual - to deal with this.  But it's clearly hampering me, so deal I will.

I've gotten good ideas from flylady.net in the past (still use some of it).  Anybody else have any good links or advice of your own?  What routines do you use to maintain your environment while STILL working, taking care of your health, and protecting time for the things that fill your spirit?

Speaking of filling the spirit, I'll be taking my Mom to Disneyland tomorrow.

The leaking washer will have to wait.